Showing posts from February, 2014

Forest Elephants of Gabon

I was saddened to read about the 26 forest elephants recently slaughtered at the Dzanga Bai in the Central African Republic. My affection for forest elephants dates to a spell of five years living in Gabon in the 1990s and I wrote the following short article at that time, before forest elephants were separated from Savannah elephants as separate species, Loxodonta africana africana and Loxodonta cyclotis.

Pygmy Elephants, Forest Elephants and Savannah ElephantsWhat do all those common names mean?
The Pygmy Elephant as a separate race of elephants has always been controversial. In 1906, a zoologist named Noack invented the new sub-species Elephas africanus pumilio for a small elephant measuring only 1.2 m at the withers (the ridge between its shoulder blades). Unfortunately for him, the animal continued to grow until it reached 2.03 m at its death, nine years later, a perfectly normal size for a forest elephant! Several other elephants also continued to grow after they had been classif…